He makes some fairly obvious points, and delivers them in a 1-2-3 fashion as if it's a no-brainer fix, but really, who are we kidding? Part of the problem (if you want to call it that) with the Dems (vs. the GOP) is our so-called base is comprised of a wider-net, more complex set of voter groups. The DNC cannot simply bag at least half the base by throwing them two issues (abortion and gays) and then focus strictly on the other 50+%. Fortunately, we don't have that luxury. We need to win over folks more so via reason, facts, and truly showing them why we're for or against something. We don't use symbols like God, Jesus, or Reagan to quickly win over entire voting blocks, as if they're mindless robots. Our "problem" is simply not that easy to solve.
So, according to much of the advice floating around, we're to put aside any hostile sentiments or opinions. As Kristof writes,
The Democrats need a similar rebranding. But the risk is that the party will blame others for its failures - or, worse, blame the American people for their stupidity (as London's Daily Mirror screamed in a Page 1 headline this week: "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?").
Even though many of us believe there is a HIGH level of sheer ignorance running through the red states (more than one poll has shown GW supporters were more uninformed -- by far -- about what there guy actually stood for than did Kerry supporters), we're supposed to repress that knowledge and make nice-nice, or "compromise" more with the likes of Tom DeLay. Many a snide right-winger gripes, "to not do so is to just keep losing."
My ass! To drift over to the dark side now is likely to be a huge mistake. Yes, we need to sharpen our message(s) and continue to better organize and mobilize, but as per guns and abortion and gay marriage, or even tax cuts, Iraq, and social security, I believe the key is to be patient. Stick with pointing out right from wrong based on the FACTS and in time (a year? two?) their stack of cards will come tumbling down. When that inevitably happens, we want to have established some stark contrast (vs. anything wishy-washy they can nail us on, e.g. Kerry's record on voting for or against anything Iraq-related).
Kristof assumes this continued rightward drift in the country is a done deal, not likely to reverse, no way no how. I disagree. We'll never appeal to the hard Evangelical types, but so be it, we don't have (want?) to. There are plenty of reasonable, more moderate Republicans who are just looking for a reason NOT to vote for GW, at least enough to easily reverse Tuesday's 51%/48% "mandate" win.